Last week, Hannah posted a blog about the four interns we received this Summer who are leaving their mark on Masatepe. It’s been great having them and they will certainly be missed come August. That’s honestly a big part of living and working abroad, receiving guests and watching others come and then go. We have hosted countless guests in our nearly three years of living here and each of them left their own mark in their own way. Most of them will come back again, because Nicaragua has that effect on people. In fact, for most of our visitors, traveling internationally is not really that big of a deal. Getting visas approved is as easy as presenting a passport, and paying for flights isn’t that big of a stretch considering that most of us can find $600 for a round-trip ticket if we dig deep enough.
But Hannah and I have seen another side of this as well. The reality that most of our Nicaraguan friends simply do not enjoy the same luxury. $600 for a round trip flight, for the average Nicaraguan, would be the equivalent of nearly 3 months income. Ouch. Even if you could come up with 3 months worth of income in order to purchase the tickets, there’s a very small chance your visa would even get approved. Unlike us North Americans, getting a visa is not as simple as presenting a passport at the airport. Rather, it’s a long and costly process that has to be finalized prior to even purchasing your flights. It requires an intimidating trip to the US Embassy in Managua to stand before a consulate employee for a verbal interview in which you are required to state why you are going and why they should believe you’ll actually come back to the 2nd poorest nation in this half of the world. If you are a flight risk, chances are slim you’ll get approved. That means if they don’t believe you have enough motive to come back to your home Country within the given amount of time, the US government will prevent you from entering the Country in the first place. That whole process costs a few hundred more dollars and more people are denied than approved.
All that to be said, it’s not impossible and in fact we’ve been encouraged lately by seeing the dream of traveling abroad for some of our close Nicaraguan friends become a reality. In fact, last week we had three of our employees “out of the office” at the same time as they were each traveling to different Countries. Three Nicaraguans, all from very humble beginnings, out traveling the world! We couldn’t have been any prouder of these three for making the effort to set their sites further than most of their peers will dare, and for allowing God to show up in big ways when they fully trust in his provision! Here are there stories:
Sara, most of you will remember as “the girl from the video” (https://vimeo.com/123106498), who set her heart on a missionary training program in Asia, and after raising a considerable amount of money to cover flights and the program costs, she boarded a plane in Managua back in Late May and her final destination was Singapore! From Singapore, she will visit a handful of other Countries in Asia and will go through an intensive training program that includes bible training, evangelism, preaching and missions. We’re excited to see the change God has worked in her through this experience when she returns to Nicaragua in August! What an amazing adventure for a young lady just for following God’s leading into the unknown! Here is the latest update we received from Sara, which is incredibly encouraging:
I’ve been in Singapore now for a month. Time flies! I’ve learned a lot about God, and I’m still learning. Every day is a new powerful experience. I’m learning about how to improve my relationship with God. Learning about His Holy Presence, His anointing, how to yield to the Spirit and how to share the Gospel with others. I have felt the Holy Spirit working on me already. It’s something new to me, but I’m doing my best to get to know Him better. Honestly, everything about Him is new to me. I got to know Him every day, and feel Him in different ways. Now He has become more real and closer to me. This is definitely an amazing experience! Well, next Tuesday July 7th, we are going to Cambodia for almost a month. We are going to work with orphanages, and some ministries the pastor has started there. So, if you can pray for me, that God can open my heart, eyes, and so I can learn more there, and hear clearly what is God’s call in my life. I’m open to God’s plan. I just want to obey Him. Thank you so much for being part of this, and for your support and prayers!
Eliezer, who’s parents both work for us in the coffee shop (Giovanny and Maria for those of you who know our crew), and who also was working as a Barrista himself earlier this year, is spending the Summer in our hometown of Fishers, Indiana! Eliezer went through the YWAM DTS program here in Nicaragua last Winter, where he learned a fair amount of English in addition to all that he learned about sharing his faith and doing ministry. Upon finishing the program he was wondering what was next in his life. Our home church, Bridgeway Community Church in Fishers, IN, invited Eliezer to spend the Summer as an intern with them, and he decided to go for it. I had the joy of sitting through the nerve-racking visa appointment with him in the Embassy, and right when I thought the consulate employee was going to turn him away, they invited me to go up and speak on his behalf (which never happens!). He was approved, and in May he boarded his first flight ever and set out on his own through the confusing maze of airports until finally arriving at his destination in Indianapolis for a 3 month stay. It’s been great hearing how well this experience has gone for him and I can’t wait to have him back in Masatepe again in August to see what’s next in his journey. For those of you in the Fishers area who are reading this email, be sure to reach out to Eliezer and invite him to a meal and get to know him! When you’re living abroad, a friendly invitation goes a long way to making you feel at home! And you’ll be blessed to get to know him better in your time together!
Ana, another Barrista at our coffee shop, is also one of the lead singers in the worship band at our church. Ana has a beautiful voice and uses it to bring Glory to the One who gave it to her any chance she gets! You can hear her sing in this video, which was just shot last week, and you can practice your Spanish while you’re at it! Ana was recently invited to go on a missions trip to Haiti and although she wasn’t sure how she could possible afford it, she felt the call to go and signed up. Of course, God provided for Ana’s trip. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, meaning there’s only one nation that’s poorer….Haiti. Hearing Ana’s testimony when she got back from her trip to Haiti was so incredibly powerful. Hearing someone who’s from a Country engulfed in poverty, talk about the unbelievable poverty she experienced in Haiti, was eyeopening, and I was so thankful she got that experience and that we got to hear about it through her.
Hearing Ana describe Haiti felt so similar to how we described Nicaragua upon returning from our first missions trip down here years ago! As much as I wish everyone could experience that feeling of awe and amazement when we get immersed in a totally different culture and context, I couldn’t be happier that our Nicaraguan friends are getting that same experience this Summer. Missions can be about so many things, but at the core it’s about one thing and one thing only….expanding our understanding of how big God really is. Everyone deserves that experience, which is why for us, sending is as important as receiving.
Join us in making more trips like this possible by making a donation to the Masatepe Scholarship Fund, designated specifically to empower young Nicaraguans to reach their dreams.